Of course it wouldn’t be a Batman game without a colorful arsenal of gadgets. Batman and Robin start out with batarangs but can unlock a full utility belt’s worth of superhero toys, including taser bombs, punch-enhancing bat-knuckles and even a laser sword. While some initially just augment your basic attacks, all of the gadgets can be upgraded twice for expanded ability, such as multi-lock-on batarangs that you aim with the Wii pointer. These gadgets count as special attacks and deplete your energy meter, but there are plenty of health and energy pickups to keep you topped off.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a solid and competent beat-em-up but a lot of its lasting charm comes from the fact that it emulates the TV show so well. While the environments are a mix of 2D and 3D, all of the characters are sprites. This not only mimics the art style of the show but lets the action stay consistently fluid and allows for a lot of it on screen at once. All of the characters are impeccably animated and the scenery has some great effects as well. Even the menus, which are all set against different areas of the Batcave, have been given extra flash and depth to stay consistent with the flavor of the show.
The writing is spot-on and surprisingly funny, with Batman channeling Adam West’s hyper-idealized, upstanding and moral portrayal of the Dark Knight, while Robin is a more modern and skeptical straight-man. Batman will usually monologue about justice and rehabilitating criminals, with Robin frequently interjecting with snarky or world-weary commentary. The humorous interplay between just the dynamic duo livens up the gameplay considerably, and the various encounters with villains and fellow heroes make things even more entertaining. The writers deserve a lot of credit for seamlessly injecting the show’s charm into the game—something you don’t see too often these days. Most of the voice actors from the show reprise their roles, adding that extra layer of authenticity.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold might seem a little too retro at first glance, but it’s a deceptively robust package that has obviously had a lot of love put into it. It has enough depth to keep a wide range of different players engaged—at once not too difficult for the inexperienced and complex enough that beat-em-up fans will have a good time. Its cooperative nature makes it a great party game, with just enough humor and interactivity to appeal to most players who are only peripherally familiar with Batman. In any case it’s infinitely preferable to the huge swathe of minigame pabulum bogging down the Wii’s library.
Most important of all, however, this game is a must-buy for fans of the series. It’s obviously a labor of love and a tribute to the show, acting as an end-cap and last hurrah for much of the artistic and voice talent that went into the series. It’s a shame that Batman: The Brave and the Bold had to end, but with the Wii game it’s getting a much better send-off than most of animated series see.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold is equal parts classic beat-em-up and tribute to the beloved animated series. It's a brawler that anyone, genre fans included, can pick up and have a good time with. For fans of the TV show it's a must own, replicating the series' charm and campy wit with all the same writing, voice talent and art style.
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